A recent article on SupplyManagement.com on Making Waves which tries to compare and contrast procurement at SMEs and procurement at large companies seems to suggest, a few pages in, that buyers in large organizations are less willing to sit down face-to-face and negotiate as it’s all about getting the RFP, doing an assessment, and then getting someone in and talking through their proposal while their counterparts in a smaller organization see it as more a case of negotiating face-to-face and you can do two or three of those a day.
It also seems to suggest that procurement at most large organizations is a mature function with a systemized approach to procurement while most smaller organizations have almost no process in place for procurement.
The reality is that the state of procurement is very organizational dependent and that the preferred methodology is very buyer centric. If a buyer is an introvert, doesn’t like face-to-face negotiations and has access to modern e-Sourcing and e-Negotiation tools, then the buyer is going to focus on events. If the buyer is an extrovert, doesn’t believe in new-fangled technology that removes the human element, and believes that the best deal always results from face-to-face negotiations, then the buyer is going to focus on negotiations. Company size be damned in either case.
While the article has some good examples of real-world scenarios faced by procurement professionals, it is dangerous to draw broad conclusions from just a few interviews with a scattering of procurement professionals. It’s never clear-cut.